It's a Boy! The National Zoo Reveals Sex of Giant Panda Cub

"Hopefully this cub will be as fun as Bei was, because he was an absolute blast," says a zookeeper

The National Zoo's six-week-old panda cub
Smithsonian's National Zoo

Grab the blue confetti! The National Zoo announced Monday that its majorly cute six-week-old panda cub is male.

Since male and female cubs look similar at birth, the cub's sex was determined by a DNA swab taken during a vet exam in September. The zoo used a painting created by giant panda Tian Tian, the cub's father, to reveal the sex of the cub to zookeepers and fans online Monday.

A YouTube video shared by the National Zoo shows two giant panda keepers tearing panda-print wrapping paper off of a canvas to reveal the cub's sex. Both of the zoo's adult giant pandas have been trained to paint by playing with brushes that have been pre-loaded with paint by keepers.

Monday's big reveal showed strokes of blue paint on a white canvas.

"It's another boy!" keeper Marty Dearie cheers in the video as the paper comes off.

This cub is mama Mei Xiang's fourth surviving cub and third boy. The oldest, Tai Shan, arrived in July 2005, but D.C.-area panda fans had a long wait after that. Bao Bao, Mei's only female offspring, arrived to much fanfare in August 2013, followed by Bei Bei in August 2015.

"It's going to be exciting to see if he favors some of the characteristics of his older brothers, Tai Shan and Bei Bei," keeper Nicole MacCorkle says in the video.

Photos: Early Glimpses of National Zoo's Newborn Panda Cub

All three of the cub's older siblings now live in China, per an agreement between that nation and the United States.

"Hopefully this cub will be as fun as Bei was, because he was an absolute blast," Dearie says in the video.

The little cub has been growing quickly since his birth in August. He's up to 3.6 pounds and measured 14 inches from nose to tail tip during a quick exam conducted Thursday, the zoo said. Both of his eyes have started to open, and he's been starting to crawl.

The new cub has been sharing some adorable moments on the Panda Cam.

While he has been spending a bit more time away from his mom's soft, furry embrace, panda watchers will still see the pair spending lots of time snuggling up.

The little cub remains nameless for now. His older siblings received their names during ceremonies to celebrate reaching their 100th day of life, per Chinese tradition.

The panda house at the National Zoo is currently closed to visitors to provide a quiet environment for Mei Xiang and her baby. The Asia Trail, which includes the panda's outdoor habitats, is temporarily closed to visitors for repaving of walkways.

You can keep up with the pandas 24/7 on the zoo's panda cams.

Sophia Barnes contributed to this report.

Contact Us